Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

2013 in retrospect January 1, 2014

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REFLECTING ON 2013, it’s been a good year in many ways. Not without challenges—no one’s life is perfect or worry-free—but mostly the past year rates as a good one on personal and professional levels.

Newlyweds Amber and Marc with Amber's brother, Caleb, and sister, Miranda.

Newlyweds Amber and Marc with Amber’s brother, Caleb, and sister, Miranda.

I watched as my eldest daughter married the love of her life. I watched as my youngest, my 19-year-old son, headed off to Boston, to a university that challenges him.

My role as a mother is ever evolving as my three adult children (that always seems like such an oxymoron) stretch their wings wider and fly higher. I am thankful for the independence and confidence they possess, although at times I joke that I should have tossed them into the basement and locked the door, keeping them forever close.

Personally, I continue to be blessed by the presence of so many caring people in my life from loving family members to a supportive bible study group to bloggy friends who have become real-life friends, and more.

I am grateful, too, that God continues to bless me with a listening ear and a compassionate heart. My husband always tells me that I can make anyone cry, and he means that in the best of ways.

That's my post, labeled "Barn Memories," featured today on Freshly Pressed.

For the third time since I began blogging, my work was selected for Freshly Pressed in 2013. That’s my post, labeled “Barn Memories.”

On the professional side of my life, the past year has presented new opportunities and accomplishments. This blog continues to flourish with around 230,000 views in 2013 and a growing readership, now at 708 followers.

I am thankful for everyone who reads Minnesota Prairie Roots and to media outlets like Minnesota Public Radio (Bob Collins’ NewsCut) and MinnPost (Minnesota Blog Cabin), which occasionally pick up my work.

Me and my camera, a tool in the writing profession I love.

Me with my DSLR Canon EOS 20D.

I’ve always considered myself first and foremost a writer in my professional life. But in the past year, my confidence as a photographer has soared as I’ve sold numerous photos which have been featured in places like a cable TV show intro, a catalog in the UK, a corporate report and more.

Photos published on Minnesota Prairie Roots are for sale. Check my “About” page for a contact email address. Just don’t email and tell me you would like to use a specific photo and you will give me photo credit. I don’t give away my work (meaning photos and stories should not be lifted and used without my permission).

Me, next to my "Off to Mankato to 'get and education'" poem posted near Glenwood Gardens.

Me, next to my “Off to Mankato to ‘get an education'” poem posted near Glenwood Gardens in Mankato as part of the Mankato Poetry Walk and Ride.

Writing has always been my passion and that includes poetry. I don’t pen poetry as much as I should. But when I do, I often succeed in getting it published. This past year was no exception with, among other places, two of my poems published on signs posted in a park and along a recreational trail in nearby Mankato.

I wrote my first piece of fiction in years and won honorable mention for my short story, “The Final Chapter,” published in The Talking Stick, Volume 22, In Retrospect.

I continue to evolve as a writer and a photographer. Thank you, dear readers, for joining me on this journey, for allowing me to share my discoveries, insights and life with you via my images and words.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling